April 18, 2007

So Simple, Even a Journalist Can Do It

I've roundly criticized ABC's Brian Ross for his blatant falsehoods regarding the "assault weapons" ban provision of the 1994 Crime Bill, but it appears that not only has ABC News refused to retract these false claims, it appears that the lie is spreading among other members of the ignorati.

Enter one of the least, shall we say, "mentally agile" disciples of this profession at MSNBC.


Allahpundit Ian has the video of Olbermann parroting of Ross' falsehoods.

At least one of the weapons used by the shooter is believed, as we said, to be in nine millimeter semi-automatic pistol, which would be like this one, with a clip designed to hold more than 10 shots. Clips like those were banned under the Assault Weapons Law of 1994, but Congress and President Bush allowed that law to expire more than two years ago.

I'll try this once more, making it so easy that even journalists can understand it.

High-capacity magazines were never outlawed. They were never illegal to own, buy or sell, person-to-person, in retail stores, catalogs, or online.

Part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 was the so-called Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which was a ban on certain cosmetic features found on some firearms. It was, in fact, nothing more than "scary-looking gun" law.

Banned "assault rifles" were easily made legal again by manufacturers who merely had to remove the offensive accessories, such as flash hiders, pistol grip-style stocks, or bayonets lugs, none of which affected the rate of fire, accuracy or velocity of the firearms in question. Older firearms arbitrarily (and inaccurately) deemed assault weapons by the ban that were already in the market were grandfathered in, and the new "post-ban" assault weapons sold quite well during the length of the so-called ban.

Another provision of the ban was a ban on the manufacture of "large capacity ammunition feeding devices," which the law defined, again arbitrarily, as those rifle and pistol magazines that hold in excess of then rounds of ammunition.

Where Ross, ABC New, Olbermann and others are dead wrong is when they attempt to imply that the ban on the manufacture of new magazines of more than ten rounds was a ban on all high-capacity magazines. This is patently false.

There are literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of firearms in America primarily designed to use magazines of more than ten rounds. Most of these firearms were sold by the manufacturer with at least two magazines, and there was and is a robust industry for magazines for these firearms. By the time the "large capacity ammunition feeding devices" stipulation of the 1994 AW Ban provision was implemented into law, there were literally millions of such magazines in America, and hundreds of thousands more available for retail and commercial sale.

The AW Ban did not make owning nor selling such magazines illegal. As a result, magazines of more than ten rounds were available for uninterrupted sale during the entire ten-year life of the AW ban. It was never illegal to own, sell, or buy such magazines. All the ban actually did was to spur interest in purchasing such magazines, and manufacturers literally had to work overtime to meet anticipated demand prior to the implementation of the law.

As a result of supply and demand, once the "ban" (which it never was in any meaningful way) went into effect, some magazines increased significantly in cost, and some were even in relatively short supply, but they were always available in retail stores, catalogs and online, and they were always legal to own, buy, or sell.

I'm growing increasingly tired of journalists such as Brain Ross, ABC News, and Keith Olbermann spouting falsehoods, when they have obviously been too lazy--or perhaps just to agenda-driven--to simply read the law itself, or even point a web browser in the direction of Google.

These so-called journalists have forfeited their credibility by refusing to address the truth, and instead, decided to foist upon an unsuspecting public, blatant falsehoods to further a political agenda.

We've come to expect our media to be biased. We shouldn't have to deal with them blatantly, recklessly, and repeatedly lying to further their private policy beliefs.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 18, 2007 09:22 AM

I can't believe these guys get away with blatenly lying to further their political agenda. It sickens me. Also I guarantee that most people are too dumb to know the truth so they now have one more reason to hate Bush, because the tragedy in VA was clearly his fault. Insane and ridiculous.

Posted by: Justin at April 18, 2007 08:59 AM

Under the old law, the Glock Cho bought would have been limited w/r/t the number of rounds it could hold. He could not have bought a brand new Glock with a high capacity magazine. So if that's the only point, it may not be fair to call it a lie. Is it imprecise reporting? Yes. A blatant lie? eh. That may go a little too far.

Having said that, even under the old law, there's nothing that would have prohibited Cho from buying 10, 15, 20 or even 50 10-round clips. When he's shooting unarmed people trapped in classrooms, I'm not sure that the body count would have differed at all.

Of course, even if the old law was still in effect, he could have bought a used gun manufactured before the "ban" which is the point you're making. He could have also bought a bunch of the old clips, I guess. Not sure if the old clips fit into the "postban" guns. But I agree that the whole story is silly. Just not sure it's worth it to go ballistic and call them liars. It takes effort to build a lie. I think they're just dumb and not thinking things through.

Posted by: Jimmy Page at April 18, 2007 12:18 PM

Jimmy, your comments are incorrect.

Any Glock 19 purchased at any point in history (before, during, or after the ban) would not be limited in the number of bullets it could contain, and as many guns stores typically carry pre-ban spare magazines for Glocks and other popular pistols, he could have purchased the 15-round magazine the pistol was designed to operate with on the spot if it did not already come with them.

The magazine wells on Glocks were never modified to force them to take different (lower capacity)magazines. From the first Glock 19 off the assembly line to ones produced today, they can all use the same magazines.

And it is magazines, not clips. Clips are narrow strips of sheet metal (typically spring steel) used to load magazines. Clips go into magazines, magazines go into firearms. The two are not the same thing nor are they interchangable, no matter how many times the media screws that up, as well. Each has a distinct purpose.

I'm quite comfortable calling them liars when they are, in fact, spreading complete falsehoods, and manually deleting comments pointing out these falsehoods and pushing for a retraction.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at April 18, 2007 12:42 PM

Actually, President Bush cannot be blamed for letting the ban expire. He clearly said, multiple times, that he was going to sign the bill when it made it to his desk. It never got out of Congress.

It's one of the many, many things that he can legitimately be criticized about.

Posted by: Carter at April 18, 2007 01:13 PM

The Democrat 5th Column will milk this until some Conservative commentator steps and calls them a liar. At that time they will call for the resignation of the columnist for being uncivil, rather than calling for the ouster of the liars in the MainBlame Media.

Meanwhile, the murderer, Chokes on Wee, will become the poster boy for gun control.

Since he claims "the rich" made him do it, maybe we should ban Hollywood millionaires.

Posted by: TJ's Anti-contrarian Blog at April 18, 2007 06:49 PM

Jimmy, Clips hold. Magazines have springs to present the cartridges for loading.

Posted by: Phillep at April 18, 2007 09:53 PM